Breaking News: Braves Drop One in Atlanta, 3-2

For the third consecutive Tuesday, Matt Wisler toed the rubber for the Braves. After two extreme Tuesday performances, the first on the terrible side and the second on the fantastic side, he settled into his median tonight and pitched okay—not good enough to win with this bunch, but decent enough that you’d be thrilled to get that out of your pitcher 4 out of every 5 nights. He went 8 innings and gave up solo runs in the 4th, 5th, and 8th innings. He made one really terrible mistake to Maikel Franco in the 8th when he hung a pitch that Franco crushed to left field, but otherwise looked pretty good.

The Braves offense, meanwhile, was stymied by the fearsome Adam Morgan, he of the career 5-7 record and 4.63 ERA. They managed to squeeze a run out of a first-and-third, no-outs situation in the 4th, when Tyler Flowers grounded into a double play to score Ender Inciarte, but otherwise looked pretty helpless. Freddie Freeman tacked on the Braves other run when he hit a home run in the 9th, but since he led off the inning, his efforts were not enough to overcome the 8 previous innings of offensive ineptness displayed by his fellow batsmen.

Having Inciarte back in centerfield has been fun for fans of good defense, and he provided some classic defensive entertainment in the 6th inning when he faked Carlos Ruiz into getting doubled off of first on a routine fly ball to right center. The play at 1st was not even all that close. If the Braves are going to lose—and they are, a lot—they need to start incorporating more moments like that one into their games, because those are what make losses worth watching.

The rest of the series with the Phillies should be good, since the two teams are pretty evenly matched offensively. It’s nice to see the Braves fighting someone their own size instead of someone much, much bigger than they are. The first five weeks of this season were especially brutal, but they inoculated me enough to losing that I can’t even muster up the smallest amount of outrage over a loss that lowered the Braves winning percentage to .226.

There are so many questions swirling around this team right now. Just how low will that winning percentage manage to go? Just how many games into the season will it be before the Braves pick up their second home win? Will the Braves be able to win more games this year than the Cubs lose? The suspense is enough to keep me watching.

114 thoughts on “Breaking News: Braves Drop One in Atlanta, 3-2”

  1. So, I did some fun math. The Braves are 7-24, which is a .226 winning percentage. (7 wins divided by 7+24 total games => 7/31 = .226.)

    In order to have a good shot at the playoffs, you need 90 wins, so the Braves have 83 to go. The number of games that it takes to win 83 games with a .226 winning percentage is 83 / (.226), or 367.57 games — that’s two seasons and 43.57 games. We just played the 31st game of the year on May 10. Forty-four games from now will be the 75th game of the season, and it’s scheduled for June 26th.

    So, the Braves are on pace to win their 90th game on June 26!

    Of 2018.

  2. Will the Braves be able to win more games this year than the Cubs lose?

    YES, the Cubs are that good!

  3. As long as we retroactively make the 2016 playoffs and lose the wildcard game on the strength of 4 errors and an uncharacteristic shellacking of our staff ace, that’ll be just fine with me. Maybe by 2020 we can contend for the 2017 NL East title?

  4. Also, Wisler’s extremely uninspiring with his 5-point-something K/9. That and a whole lot of good luck will take you right down the Jair Jurrjens career path.

  5. I though Wisler pitched pretty well last night. He is starting to show flashes of being pretty good. If he had a decent infield behind him, we may have won.

  6. It’s not that he’s all that bad, he’s just not great. We need some greatness on this team. At some point. Eventually. One day.

  7. If Wisler could have Jurrjens’ career, that’d be fine by me. We need both greatness and goodness.

    Inciarte won my undying fandom with that fake-out move.

  8. Hard to remember but take a look at Smoltz and Glavine’s early results…

  9. I don’t think a Glavine is possible in this era. The strike zone won’t ever be eight feet wide again. A Smoltz clone is my dream. I think Wisler throws hard enough, but his breaking stuff isn’t there yet.

  10. I don’t think Wisler’s ceiling was ever considered “ace.” It was middle of the rotation.

    That being said, he needs to start missing more bats.

  11. the outfield fake
    will have us on our feet for heaven’s sake
    for this relief much thanks
    there’s some that can, the many mainly tanks.

  12. Yeah, it’s not that a Jurrjens career would be bad, it’s that Jurrjens’ career would’ve been pretty crappy without a couple of years of phenomenal balls-in-play luck. He didn’t miss bats, and when he wasn’t missing bats and he wasn’t getting lucky, he wasn’t a playable major leaguer. Counting on both health luck and balls-in-play luck to get you to #3 starter ceiling is a pretty tenuous proposition.

    That being said, I’d rather take a shot that he can learn how to strike someone out than see Bud Norris or something similar for the next couple of lost years.

  13. The problem wasn’t that we had Jair Jurrjens. The problem was that he imploded, along with all our other good pitchers.

  14. Ok I’ll admit it might be a tad premature to peg his ceiling one month into his first full season. We need solid players, and he can be solid for sure.

  15. Our young pitching has a mix of everything. We’ve got some good relief prospects (Winkler, Rodriguez, Hursh, Withrow, Simmons), we’ve got some middle rotation guys (Blair, Wisler, Jenkins, Fried, Soroka, Toussaint, Ellis), and we have some guys with top of the rotation stuff (Newcomb, Sims, Folty, Allard, Povse). We also have some likely organizational filler guys who could surprise you (Banuelos, Gant, Whalen, Barker, Weber). And every single one of those pitchers have pitched well in 2016 except for Toussaint, who has had 3 good starts in a row now, and Allard, who has not pitched. The future is so bright across the different stages of development and ceilings that I’m not the least bit worried if Wisler isn’t an “ace”. Who cares.

    Thanks to Stu @8. Would I be right to assume that after pre-arb salary escalations, we’d be looking at about $65M committed for 2017? I really can’t get worked up about anything on the books for 2017, though I wish we weren’t paying Toscano and Uggla close to $2M together. I still don’t have an issue with Markakis at $11M and Olivera at $6M. Olivera may very well be sunk cost, but we should be at least able to move Markakis’ contract if power in the corners becomes a priority (as it, uhh, has to). When you consider we’ll pay our rotation (and parts of the bullpen) very little, and we should have SS, 2B, CF, and maybe a corner spot (if Mallex and Inciarte both stay) cost-controlled, you really have to love how 2017 and beyond looks right now.

  16. I think Markakis has limited trade value. Maybe for more mid-level pitching specs? That’s about all I could see. I think we’ll keep him.

    It will be interesting to see what they do with Inciarte. I think you have to try to move him before park factors expose him. His defense speaks for itself but the offense worries me a lot.

  17. Right. I’m not expecting much for Markakis. I just think they’ll want to move his contract to invest in a better, more expensive right fielder. Remove Markakis and put in a $20-25M right fielder who hits for similar average, plays similar defense, but hits for more power. I think we’d be in on Alex Gordon quite a bit if he were to have become available this offseason. Same thing with Cespedes. Cespedes has two more years of $24M after this year, and with the season he’s having, he may opt out.

    Call up Swanson and Albies, sign Cespedes, trade Jenkins/Markakis/Davidson for Lucroy, put Mallex in left, hope for the best with Olivera/Garcia/Ruiz, keep Teheran, sign two stable relievers, and you have a pretty dang good team.

  18. @24

    I think one of Markakis or Inciarte will be gone by July. I am betting it’s Markakis.

  19. I think we have to move Markakis and a pitcher for a corner RH’d bat. We also need a good RH’d catcher and possibly 3B.

  20. My barber says the following has been discussed:

    SF Gets: Tehran, Markakis and Jenkins
    Atl Gets: Trevor Brown, Mac Williamson and Derek Law

  21. Markakis has a .390 OBP, which is very valued by certain teams, one particular being the Cubs. Markakis for Soler makes sense, but with Soler proving nothing so far, Braves could push them to add another prospect. I like Ian Happ.

    Cubs want to add a solid LFer and Braves have one. Furthermore, Braves won’t settle for a lackluster return for Markakis. They’ll make some team overpay.

  22. We could package Teheran and Ruiz for a big RH 3B or LF bat. Not sure who those options might be, but I don’t see Ruiz being a long term 3B option. Too many lefties on this team.

  23. @33 My sense is that Soler has a higher offensive ceiling than Baez (he hits for a little less power but walks a ton more and Ks less) but it appears Soler plays a bad defensive LF, which really restricts his real-life value – much like, say, Schwarber or Evan Gattis.

    Baez has a scary BB/K rate but he’s been good-to-excellent in AA and AAA, and there’s no question he’s a superior athlete with power and speed to burn.

    Soler’s value is down right now due to his poor start, while Baez’s is presumably up due to his good start. While I like the idea of ‘buying low’, seems to me that Baez is the better asset to have overall.

    Know what the Braves could really use right now? Hector Olivera putting up a .750+ OPS, batting after Freddie in the lineup.

  24. It’s true. This team was built around the expectation that Inciarte and Olivera would anchor the offense after Markakis and Freeman, Aybar would improve on Simmons, Peterson would improve, and Garcia and Pierzynski wouldn’t fall off too much. Literally none of those things has been true, and the problem is that there basically wasn’t a plan B for any of them.

  25. @35

    Well the plan B was Aybar and Peterson would be bad, but be able to bridge the gap to July and we could call up Swanson and Albies.

    Those guys have been historically bad.

  26. Fun fact: The Braves team OPS+ is 58. League average is 100. Freeman and Markakis are the only guys above 100. Gordon Beckham is 3rd at 88. Erick Aybar’s is 16.

  27. @35

    I would say that was Plan A, and then a scenario where most or some of that worked was Plan B, C, D, etc.. The fact that none of that worked means we’re on Plan K, and that means rushing prospects.

  28. Fun fact: Only 2 guys on the current team have a home run this season. Mallex Smith is one of those guys.

  29. @28

    Smitty’s barber
    consider first the large number of trades he tends to harbor
    evaluating three for three
    it’s time efficient and never mind what’s that and who’s he?

  30. Erick Aybar has already been worth -1.3.

    Drew Stubbs was tied for 5th on the team in WAR at 0, and they cut him.

  31. When a good portion of your team is below replacement level…seems like you should just replace them.

  32. Would you rather:

    a. have seven (7) wins on May 11th, or

    b. be trading FOR Jhoulys Chacin on May 11th.

  33. Ugh. Why even bother?? Chacin has a 5.40 ERA, and he’s probably better than that, we’re getting nothing in return, and we have to pitch the Bills. Why not see if Chacin can improve and then trade him? It’s not like we’re opening a spot for Jenkins or Sims.

  34. Can’t say that I care alot, but I definitely don’t understand. Chacon through 4 starts had a 3.27 ERA, then had a bad start against the Mets. Odd time to pull the plug for no return whatsoever, especially to replace him with Williams Perez.

    I guess Jenkins will probably be moved to take this slot next time through the rotation, but it’s still strange.

  35. It certainly makes sense to go ahead and open a spot for Jenkins, but why not let him make another start if it otherwise goes to the Bills?

  36. Curious move. Feels like selling something on ebay and by the time you pay the fees and the shipping you basically gave it away… without any altruism.

  37. Hopefully the pitcher the Braves get in return is one whose arsenal would fit well as a reliever – we already have enough back end rotation guys in the system, but are woefully short on shutdown bullpen arms.

  38. It’s just very odd timing. You don’t upgrade the ML roster, and his value is not as high as it could be. Of course, a team gets him for more starts than if we traded at the deadline, so maybe this is the best return we were going to get. I’m just really tired of seeing Williams Perez when we have 9 starting pitchers who are out-performing him in the organization.

  39. Perez was just the scheduled starter for Gwinnett tonight, I think that’s all there is to it.

  40. 23 year old lefty reliever in Rookie ball, Adam McCreery. Unless we’re about to find out that Chacin shot his mailman, I don’t get it.

  41. Adam McCreery is who we got. He is a 6’8″ 23 year old LOOGY still in rookie ball. He walks a ton of guys, but is left handed.

  42. Not enough starts to go around for the starters we have between AAA and MLB, needed room, especially with some guys needing to move up. That’s what this looks like to me at least.

  43. Agree, Jay. I had hoped Chacin’s value would inflate to the point where the Braves might get an actual middling prospect for him, but it’s whatever.

    $850K in savings!!!

  44. I thought Sean Newcomb was already playing the role of the tall, 23 year old lefty who can’t throw strikes…

  45. But we just kinda gave him away…? Weird. Maybe it’s just reparations for the Andrelton trade. Gotta fix the karma a bit.

  46. @65

    No, Newcomb is the tall 23 year old lefty who only occasionally throws strikes. A completely different role.

  47. @63

    I see the logic Jay, but then why is it Williams Perez and not another starter?

    Are they going to run Williams out there for one start then call up someone else?

  48. This looks like a very silly deal–almost trading for the sake of making a trade….

    It would have made far more sense to let Chacin have a chance to re-develop and then trade him, as others have noted.

    The 2016 season just keeps getting better….

  49. If they’ve decided that they’re ready (or almost ready) to be done with Chacin in order to make room for Jenkins or Sims, it makes sense to trade him for something now (a LHP and cash savings), when they have an offer, as opposed to having to risk DFA-ing him in a week or two (in which case they’d get neither LHP nor cash savings).

    Bowman’s been implying for at least a couple weeks that Chacin was not long for the rotation.

  50. You gotta look for couch-cushion change in order to pay Olivera to go away, so I guess every little bit helps. It ain’t gonna come from attendance gate or concessions, that’s for damn sure.

    We’re still a month away from any prospects coming up. Gonna be hard to generate excitement until then.

  51. Our scouts may have liked this kid. We thought we gave Maybin away but here we sit with Ian Krol on our major league roster.

    Regardless, it sucks that this is the best return we would get for any of our veteran trade bait. I can’t imagine anyone else among the expected trade chips is tradable. Maybe if grilli turns it around…

  52. And just last week I added Jhoulys to my autocorrect text manager. What a freakin’ waste of time that was!

  53. @68 Perez was slated to start today, so he gets the call. I think he probably gets a few more before Jenkins is really ready.

    @70 Keeping him around to re-develop value takes AAA or MLB starts away from someone we want to develop for us. The trade itself is whatever, but it’s a good sign re: our stock of starting pitchers.

  54. Jenkins really has nothing to prove at AAA. Speaking of a guy who needs to miss more bats though…

  55. @75 sounds right to me. Would love to have sent him out there for another month and turn him into something useful. But we have to have enough starts for the guys who really need to develop.

    I’d also add, not only do we need to develop the guys we plan to keep, but we need to give guys a chance to develop resumes at the big league level.

    We could obviously trade Teheran, but I’m not in favor of it. But if we presume Jenkins will get the call, your rotation ia Teheran, Wisler, Blair, Folty, Jenkins with Sims and Gant at AAA looking to move up, with Newcomb, Ellis, Fried, Thurman, Bird, Povse all a breakout away from demanding someone’s slot. That’s not even taking into account the guys 2+ years away who may be more talented than any of them in Allard, Soroka, Touki.

    Some of these guys are going to get traded. If, we’ll just say, Jenkins doesn’t figure to be a 6 year Atlanta Brave, you could trade him now, let him wither in AAA, or give him 20 ML starts and trade him in the offseason. So making room for him now helps maximize his value, even if he’s going to get replaced by Newcomb rather quickly.

  56. An anagram of “Jhoulys Chacin Tyrell Jenkins” is “Jerky Johns Clinches A Nullity.”

    All makes sense now, doesn’t it?

  57. Right. And even if Jenkins performs poorly in 20 ML starts, it’s still going to increase his trade value. And the same thing with Folty, Wisler, Blair, whomever.

  58. Unless he’s completely outclassed, I think that’s true.

    If we don’t have guys knocking down the door, giving ML starts to try to rehab some value into Bud Norrises and Jhoulys Chacins is a reasonable use of ML starts. But with guys knocking on the door, turning non-blue-chip prospects in to pre-arbitration major leaguers is a better use of those starts.

  59. I don’t know who we think we’d be fooling by calling up Jenkins now. He’s not ready. It all reeks of panic to me.

  60. Strikeouts. He’s never gotten many strikeouts in the minors, particularly for a guy with his stuff. He also walks too many people, but he really needs to miss more bats before I feel comfortable with him in Atlanta.

  61. Jenkins is a pitcher who generates weak contact. It may not be possible to make him a strikeout pitcher. The fact that his peripherals are so bad gives me great pause, but he has been successful in terms of run prevention. If he were our only pitching prospect, it might make more sense to take it slow, but since he’s something like the 6th best of 15, it is reasonable to call him up and see what we’ve got.

    Panic? That would be if we called up Swanson after a good week at AA.

  62. Calling Swanson up now (ok, not “now now”, but in a month) makes more sense than almost anyone you can name in our minor league system. That’s not panic. That’s good business.

    A lot of these pitchers just aren’t anything special. Auditioning them all during 2016 with a revolving door based on how they do from start to start … now *that’s* panic.

  63. I’m guessing the scouts didn’t like Chacin and said we needed to trade him now. Possible.

    Whenever Bills or Blair starts Fredi needs to play his best defensive infield with all of the ground balls.

  64. Triple post.

    Jenkins K/BB ratio is 1.53. That sucks. Imagine what it would be like in the majors.

  65. @93, I wish we had. Aybar looks like he could use a change of scenery, and Los Angeles is lovely this time of year.

  66. @92, how is it panic to audition a bunch of pitchers who aren’t anything special in a lost year? Panic is when you rush to call up your top prospect hoping he will salvage your season. You have, as usual, nearly everything exactly backwards.

  67. I’ve been to a few M-Braves games so far this year. Gotten to see both Ozzie and Dansby now. I think Ozzie is a lot closer to the show and has the better defense to stick at short. Wasn’t impressed with Dansby’s arm today but could have just been a bad day. Throws pulling the first baseman off the bag and not in time.

  68. It’s panic, or at least it’s flailing, to trade Chacin now. Unless there’s some latent injury or something, there was just no need for it. Even if he would’ve never fetched us anything better than what we got, his indicators suggested that better performance was on the way, which could only help provide a much-needed floor for this team or boost his trade value.

    Jenkins OTOH is not pitching like we need to be giving him major league innings now. We don’t even know if Jenkins has anything to do with this at all. The whole thing is weird.

  69. Williams Perez has good stuff. Heavy, low-nineties fastball and really solid change-up. When he’s not falling behind and walking guys, he can be pretty good.

    Nice to see him sharp again.

  70. He had a solid walk rate in the minors that just hasn’t translated to this point.

  71. Maybe it’s a stairstep where the sooner you clear Chacin, and get value for him, you can make on to Williams to see if you can get something for him. You wouldn’t be able to do that with him in AAA.

  72. Why create a mark-to-market situation with all our mid level pitching prospects? They are more valuable as chips if they stay in the minors.

    Albies and Swanson, on the other hand, need to play now. We’re building around them, we need them to play together and soon.

  73. C-Beth is .267/.281/.633 (2 hr) in limited ABs for SD. Currently catching a shutout vs the Cubs.
    What was the logic for choosing AJ over him? Fredi no like rookie position players?

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